Thai oil and gas giant PTT Exploration and Production Plc (PPTEP) said on Monday it would take over operations of the Yadana gas field in Myanmar from July following the exit of France’s TotalEnergies.

Following TotalEnergies announcement to withdraw from the Yadana project as the operator and joint venture partner, PTT Exploration and Production Public Company Limited (PTTEP) has carefully considered status of the field that placing utmost importance on continuity in gas production and preventing disruption to energy demand since Yadana project is a pivotal source of natural gas supply to the livelihood of the people in both Myanmar and Thailand. said the PTTEP in a press release.

Following the coup of 1st February 2021 in Myanmar, TotalEnergies has firmly condemned on several occasions the abuses and human rights violations taking place there.

TotalEnergies has also approached the French authorities to consider putting in place targeted sanctions that would confine all the financial flows of the various partners to escrow accounts without shutting down the gas production. TotalEnergies has not identified any means for doing so.

Asian energy companies’ continued presence in Myanmar is raising concerns that they could blunt the impact of new European Union sanctions on the country’s state oil and gas company.

Myanmar’s military has engaged in systematic human rights violations, many amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity, the United Nations said in its first comprehensive human rights report since last year’s coup.

Many victims were shot in the head, burned to death, arrested arbitrarily, tortured, or used as human shields, said the UN in a statement on the report, which urged “meaningful action” by the international community.

A major supplier for Thailand’s gas demand

Yadana project currently produces natural gas at the rate of approximately 770 million standard cubic feet per day (MMSCFD), approximately 220 MMSCFD, accounted for 50% of the country’s gas demand, is inevitably supplied for electricity generation in Myanmar.

Thailand also relies on this source of energy as around 550 MMSCFD of gas from the field is fed to 12 various power plants for electricity generation, serving demand of 11 million people living in the west and central part of Thailand. The amount of this imported gas contributed to about 11% of Thailand’s gas demand.

After the decision of TotalEnergies to withdraw from Yadana project, PTTEP has thoroughly considered to take a step as the successor operator in order to ensure the no interruption of natural gas supply and to reinforce long-term energy security especially in the current circumstances, where other forms of energy are not primary source for electricity generation.

PTTEP

Under the Production Operating Agreement (POA), TotalEnergies’ share will be allocated proportionately to the remaining joint venture partners with no commercial value. After the effective date of TotalEnergies’ withdrawal, PTTEPI will hold 37.0842% participating interest, while a subsidiary of Chevron, Unocal Myanmar Offshore Company Limited will hold 41.1016%, which is the largest participating interest in the project.

Myanmar endless turmoil

Myanmar has been in turmoil, on the verge of civil war, since the army overthrew an elected government in February 2021: thousands of opponents have been arrested and the military has been accused of shelling and conducting air strikes on civilian areas.

On the eve of the first anniversary of the 1 February 2021 coup d’état in Myanmar, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) called on all multinational corporations still providing Myanmar’s military with direct or indirect economic support to follow the example set by energy giants Chevron and Total, which announced on 21 January that they are terminating all operations in this country.

About the author

Bangkok Correspondent at Siam News Network

Bangkok Correspondent for Siam News Network. Editor at Thailand Business News

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